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Aerial of campus with Lake Michigan and Chicago skyline on horizon

Prospectus

Presidential Search

The Lake Forest College Presidential Search Committee invites applications, expressions of interest, and nominations of candidates in its search for the College’s next President.

The search was launched in response to President Stephen Schutt’s decision to retire in June 2022, following a celebrated 20-year tenure. In his successor, Lake Forest College is committed to finding a leader who will build on the institution’s values and traditions, connect with the community, and help to shape the bright future of the College.

The College’s next president will lead an institution already primed for success and ready to take on the challenges of the future. Unlike most national liberal arts colleges, Lake Forest is located near a world-class city with direct access by train, and we have taken advantage of our location in distinctive ways:  Student group in front of Chicago bean sculpture

  • scores of Chicago-area internships 
  • a residential program in The Loop
  • over 200 class trips to Chicago, and much more

Our metropolitan location attracts students, faculty, and staff who know the connection with a major city enhances their research and work.

Lake Forest has married our liberal arts tradition with exceptional career preparation and pragmatism. In fact, our mission statement (approved unanimously by faculty and trustees) notes:

“We prepare our students for, and help them attain, productive and rewarding careers.”

The Gorter Family Career Advancement Center has gained national attention for this career preparation model and has contributed to a placement rate of over 98 percent.

Our commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is deep; our ranking of #3 for social mobility is not a coincidence.

Lake Forest has grown and strengthened partnerships that enhance the education we provide. A prime example is our Health Professions Program (HPP), in partnership with nearby Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, with 250 students currently enrolled. HPP is a great example of the entrepreneurial spirit of the community, which is also demonstrated by our newly opened Oppenheimer Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

These and numerous other aspects of Lake Forest College make this an exceptionally attractive opportunity for the next president. We invite you to explore more in the prospectus below.

diverse group of students at front entrance

About the College

Mission Statement

Lake Forest College affirms that education ennobles the individual. 

Our curriculum engages students in the breadth of the liberal arts and the depth of traditional disciplines. We encourage students to read critically, reason analytically, communicate persuasively, and, above all, to think for themselves. We prepare our students for, and help them attain, productive and rewarding careers.

We foster creative talent and independent research. We embrace cultural diversity. We honor achievement. Our faculty of distinguished scholars takes pride in their commitment to teaching.

We know our students by name and prepare them to become responsible citizens of the global community.

We enable students, faculty, trustees, and administrators to solve problems in a civil manner, collectively. We maintain a secure residential campus of great beauty. We enrich our curriculum with the vibrant resources of Chicago.

Lake Forest College celebrates the personal growth that accompanies the quest for excellence.

#14 Best
Schools for Internships The Princeton Review
#3 for
Social Mobility U.S. News & World Report
#36 most
Innovative Schools U.S. News & World Report
#21 BEST
Value College U.S. News & World Report

History

The history of Lake Forest College is mirrored in the campus and its surroundings. The range of architectural styles and the spacious park-like landscaping are the physical embodiment of the many distinct phases in the College’s life. This significant historical record has been published in book-length form in 30 Miles North: A History of Lake Forest College, Its Town, and Its City of Chicago.

Old Young Hall front

Our Founding

The desire for a park-like setting for the campus dates to the founding of the institution in 1857. The crescent of three yellow-brick buildings (then College Hall, North Hall, and Patterson Lodge) was created in the early days of college-level instruction from 1876 to 1890. The Gothic and Tudor style buildings (Holt Chapel, Reid Hall, Durand Commons, and Carnegie Hall) reflect the adoption of a liberal-arts college model around the turn of the century.

Sports and Recreation Center exterior

Post-World War II

Post–World War II expansion and the educational rededication of the post-Sputnik and New Frontier eras are seen in the residence halls and sports center on the College’s South Campus.

Exterior of Lillard Science Center

New Direction

As the College has continued to grow through the first two decades of the 21st Century, nearly $200 million has been invested in state-of-the-art science, social science, library, residential, and athletic facilities. Students have actively responded as enrollment has increased to an all-time high of more than 1,600 students.

Our Community

Students

In fall 2021, Lake Forest College has a total enrollment of 1,647 students (1,622 undergraduate and 25 graduate). Fall 2021 welcomed the largest incoming class in the College’s history with 432 first-year students out of 4,357 applications. The student body is made up of students from 44 states and 102 countries. Forty-six percent come from out of state, 16 percent are international, and 31 percent are domestic students of color. The average incoming GPA is 3.7. While Lake Forest College is test optional, the average scores of those who do submit are:

  • ACT (25th–75th percentile): 27–31
  • SAT (25th–75th percentile): 1140–1340

There are more than 80 clubs and organizations on campus and 25 Division III varsity sports.

Faculty and Staff

Lake Forest College faculty are teachers and mentors who are singularly focused on their students’ success. As experts in their fields, faculty regularly publish books and articles and conduct research with students, and they use Chicago as a living classroom.

Ninety-eight percent of full-time faculty hold a PhD or terminal degree from leading graduate programs, including Northwestern, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, MIT, Harvard, University of Michigan, and University of Chicago. There are 194 faculty members, 106 full-time and 88 part time.

Many have been awarded grants and fellowships and are recognized for their research and teaching by prestigious organizations such as the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Andrew Mellon Foundation.

They are regularly contacted for expert comment in media such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, National Public Radio, and others. 

Lake Forest College has 184 full-time and 54 part-time staff members. The diverse and talented employees of Lake Forest College help to foster a friendly and welcoming environment on campus and are dedicated to the College’s mission and to students’ success.

Alumni

Lake Forest College has more than 15,000 alumni living across the US and around the world. Nearly one in three alumni engage annually with the College by volunteering, mentoring, or attending in person or online programs and events, and one in five alumni are active donors. In recent years, we have been nationally recognized for our outstanding alumni career network and young alumni giving and engagement.

Location and Campus

class on Lake Forest beach

30 Miles North

The City of Lake Forest, the North Shore, and the nearby world-class city of Chicago are rich with resources for recreation, entertainment, culture, and more. The City of Lake Forest, population 20,000, is a safe, suburban community recognized for its natural beauty, sensitivity to open space and preservation of its historic structures and landscapes. A vibrant downtown business district, including historic Market Square and the Metra train station, is a 10-minute walk from campus. The beautiful Lake Michigan beach is also a 10-minute walk from campus.

aerial view of Lake Forest College campus

Our Campus

Lake Forest College sits on 107 wooded acres, one-half mile from Lake Michigan and 30 miles north of Chicago. The train to Chicago is a half-mile walk from campus. Wooded ravines connect North, Middle, and South Campus. It’s largely a walking (or biking, or sometimes skateboarding) campus.

Forester Community

When not working or in class, students and faculty alike can be found playing pool or ping-pong in the Mohr Student Center, studying at the Donnelley and Lee Library, working out in the Sports and Recreation Center, or riding the train to and from Chicago. The Durand Art Institute houses the Sonnenschein and Albright Galleries that regularly exhibit professional artwork as well as student pieces for public viewing.

Academic Programs

Lake Forest College offers a variety of distinctive programs both in the liberal arts and professional areas of study, including:

  • 43 majors
  • 50 minors
  • 15 accelerated programs and affiliations
  • 3 pre-professional programs
  • 2 graduate programs

The College offers majors in both finance and business, which are not available at many liberal arts colleges; entrepreneurship and innovation is the most popular minor at the College. The new Health Professions Program is a unique partnership with Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, allowing students direct pathways to numerous popular health careers. 

The African American Studies Program was elevated to full department status in spring 2021 in response to great student interest. Our self-designed major enables students to work with a faculty advisor to design a major suited to their academic interests.

The Richter Scholar Program offers one-on-one research opportunities with a professor during the summer after the student’s first year.

Areas of study, including pre-professional programs and graduate programs, can be found here.

Career Preparation

Our Career Pathways preparation program takes students through four stages of personal exploration and career development we call the Career Milestones. We help students gain the skills and experiences they need to be successful and to build a strong network within their Pathway, connecting them to a network of mentors including faculty, staff, employers and trustees that will provide them with industry insight and help them land meaningful jobs.

Students can join one or all five communities including the Build Your Own community, which is customized to a student’s specific interests and connects them to career opportunities across the Pathways:

  • Business, Finance, and Data Science Career event on campus
  • Creative Arts and Communication
  • Law and Public Service
  • Science and Health Care
  • Build Your Own

These communities have Leadership Teams that consist of alumni, faculty, professional staff, employers, College trustees, and current students. These Leadership Teams are part advocate, part advisory board, and they help to competitively prepare students for jobs and internships to stay on the cutting edge of recruiting trends.

Lake Forest has been featured, along with Stanford and Rutgers, for its institutional focus on career preparation in the Chronicle of Higher Education’s report on “Transforming the Campus Career Center: New Models for a New Era.”

The CAC has 11 professional career center staff—more than twice the national average, including dedicated advisors for particular career industry areas.

Ninety-eight percent of Lake Forest College graduates land jobs, attend graduate school, or pursue other chosen opportunities within six to nine months.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The Lake Forest College Community is dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion. To learn more about the initiatives across campus, please visit: https://www.lakeforest.edu/diversity-equity-and-inclusion-initiatives

Faculty Diversity Statement

The faculty at Lake Forest College are committed to creating a truly inclusive community that allows all members to thrive, including those who are members of underrepresented minority groups in higher education or in society more broadly. We respect and support our diverse perspectives and we value the numerous identities and experiences of our students and colleagues. We will continue to strive for increased diversity, equity, and inclusion as a faculty to ensure that the diversity of our student body is represented among our faculty.

Teaching and mentoring students at Lake Forest College are privileges we hold dear and we recognize that what we teach carries weight in and beyond the classroom. We pledge to speak thoughtfully, to encourage civil discussion, to practice nondiscrimination, and to respect all members of our community. We will not tolerate acts of violence or hate in our community. We commit to the ongoing evaluation and communication of our practices and policies, consistent with this statement and in service to our community.

Athletics

Aerial view of Mohr Field

In Forester Athletics, maintaining A Tradition of Excellence is paramount. Excellence is what the Athletic Department strives for in every aspect of its programming. Whether it’s varsity athletics, club sports, intramurals, physical education, or general recreation, the College encourages participation, honor, achievement, and most of all, effort.

All athletics programs embrace the principles of gender equity, cultural diversity, sportsmanship, and fair play. Members of the Athletic Department support the College’s mission by consistently challenging students to reach their potential as students and athletes. We support and encourage academic excellence and take great pride in students who excel academically. Similarly, we take great pride in those who excel athletically.

Lake Forest College sponsors 25 varsity sports, 12 men and 13 women. Teams are core members of the Midwest Conference, Northern Collegiate Hockey Association, Midwest Lacrosse and Midwest Women’s Lacrosse Conferences, and affiliate members for men’s and women’s golf in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Men’s and women’s handball compete under the United States Handball Association.

Recent sports additions include men’s and women’s golf (2014), track (2018), and lacrosse (2021). The addition of lacrosse was supported with a new turf field, Mohr Field, and lockers.

Student athletes comprise about 28 percent of the student body. 

Fiscal Affairs

Financial Position:

For fiscal year 2022, the Board of Trustees has approved a total operating budget of $55 million, which is net of financial aid. As of June 30, 2021, Lake Forest College has an endowment of $106 million and a moderate long-term debt level of $31 million. The College maintains a debt rating from Standard and Poor’s of BBB-/Stable

Advancement:

Lake Forest College successfully navigated the pandemic and stands today in a very strong position. Comprehensive giving campaigns have raised more than $300 million in the past two decades for academic programs, student support, and campus improvements, including the College’s most recent $140 million campaign that ended last year. The College is now beginning a year-long planning process that will clarify future priorities and strategic directions.  The College expects to lay the groundwork for a new comprehensive campaign to support those priorities and directions under the new president’s leadership.

Successful highlights from the recent $140 million campaign include:

  • More than $80 million for key campus improvements, including Lillard Science Center, Brown Hall, Krebs Center for the Humanities, Oppenheimer Center, and Mohr Field
  • $34 million in donor bequests and other planned gifts to increase endowment and support the College for years to come
  • $15 million for endowed and annual student scholarships
  • $6.5 million in direct support for academic programs and faculty positions

Planning and Governance

Strategic Plan

Lake Forest College’s most recent strategic plan titled “Planning Priorities for Lake Forest College 2013-2018” realized significant progress. The Five-Year Progress Summary can be found here. The College is in the early stages of a new planning process, gathering important feedback, questions, and suggestions from across the College community.

Board of Trustees

The property, business, and affairs of the College are managed by the Board of Trustees which currently includes 32 dedicated and active charter and national trustees.

For more information on the Board of Trustees, please review the Bylaws of Lake Forest College.

Senior Staff

Senior staff members bring a wide variety of perspectives and valuable experience to the College as they advise the President. The direct reports to the President include:

  • Krebs Provost and Dean of the Faculty Davis Schneiderman
  • Vice President for Career Services and Athletics and Senior Advisor to the President Jackie Slaats
  • Vice President for Enrollment Chris Ellertson
  • Vice President for Finance and Planning, Treasurer of the College Lori Sundberg
  • Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Andrea Conner
  • Senior Advisor to the President DeJuran Richardson, the Ernest H. Volwiler Professor of Mathematics, Chair of Mathematics and Computer Science

The Role of the President

The President reports to the Board of Trustees and serves as an ex officio member of the Board. The President supervises and regularly convenes the senior staff and faculty committees with an eye toward promoting the values of shared governance which are held in the highest regard at the College. The President has operating and budgetary responsibility for the College and advances its mission through commitment to the values of collaboration, open communication, service, diversity, equity, and inclusion. The President understands and nurtures the strong sense of community at Lake Forest College by serving as a visible champion and advocate on campus, in the surrounding community, and in the greater Chicago area. The President also leads the College’s fundraising initiatives by cultivating and sustaining relationships with prospective donors and working closely with the Board of Trustees to manage the College effectively.

Opportunities and Challenges

Working closely and collaboratively with faculty, staff, students, trustees, alumni, and members of the community, the next President will embrace the following priorities:

Build the College’s Financial Resources and Endowment

Serving as the College’s chief fundraiser, the next President will continue to build on the momentum of the recent successful campaign. A key area of focus will be growing the College’s endowment to ensure a strong and sustainable financial foundation. Working with the Board and Advancement team, the President will seek to generate resources by building relationships with alumni, donors, foundations, and corporations to maintain a thriving campus and to support faculty, staff, and students. This includes raising funds to continue to offer generous scholarships and financial aid programs for students, to address campus infrastructure needs and deferred maintenance, to support innovation and growth, and to boost the overall operating budget, among other priorities.

Demonstrate Visionary Leadership and Ambitious Strategic Planning

The President will be an inspiring leader and will bring vision and ambitious long-range strategic planning skills to build upon an already outstanding academic enterprise. The next President will bring thought leadership that fortifies Lake Forest College’s position in the challenging higher education landscape, increases the College’s strategic marketing efforts in a competitive space, propels a mission-centered vision for the Lake Forest of the future, and offers an inspiring voice for that vision. The new President will take calculated risks, while being anticipatory and proactive in identifying issues that may arise for the College as student demographics shift and the challenging landscape for private, small liberal arts colleges evolves.

Update College’s Campus Infrastructure

The last decade has seen dramatic growth and development on Lake Forest College’s campus. As the campus evolves and the student body grows and changes, the President will be forward thinking in creating plans to update the College’s physical and systematic infrastructure. This includes master planning and fundraising to address current and future deferred maintenance and access needs, envisioning the residential environment of the future, and determining the types of additional facilities and renovations that will attract and retain students. The President will also assess the current systems and processes in place that support the College and proactively determine where additional resources are needed and where streamlining can occur.

Foster a Community Spirit on Campus and Beyond

Lake Forest College offers a small liberal arts college experience with ideal class sizes and opportunities to make meaningful connections. It also provides ready access to the beautiful town of Lake Forest and the nearby city of Chicago. The next President will continue to foster the family-like, close-knit community on campus that creates a safe and inclusive environment for the College’s diverse populations.

Advance the College’s Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

Lake Forest College’s diverse community has been working to create an even more equitable and inclusive environment, welcoming students, faculty, and staff from all backgrounds. The College is proud of the many international students, first-generation students, and Pell-eligible students who call the College home. The next President will be a champion for equity, inclusion, and access initiatives and continue to support the programs already in place and encourage the development of new strategies. The President will foster a safe environment that allows for open discussions of difficult topics and a willingness to critically analyze policies and procedures with an eye toward supporting the needs of all campus constituencies. The President will allocate resources to support ongoing DEI initiatives and to continue to be nationally recognized for the positive social mobility offered by a Lake Forest College education.

Support and Retain a Diverse Student Body

Fall 2021 has seen the largest incoming class of students in Lake Forest College’s history, including 31 percent domestic students of color, 19 percent international, 24 percent first generation, and 28 percent Pell eligible. With this milestone comes the responsibility to provide the resources and support that this diverse population of students needs to be successful. The President will seek to add new, progressive resources to the ones already in place, like the unique Gorter Family Career Advancement Center model, and work with the College community to support and retain students and increase the graduation rate. The President will be a highly visible figure on campus, engaging with students, attending events, listening to student voices, and displaying genuine interest in and concern for students’ collective success.

Leverage Proximity to Chicago

The President will continue to identify ways to capitalize on the College’s proximity to Chicago—and all that a big city has to offer—in advancing opportunities for expanded career, internship, and experiential learning support for students; new donor engagement; and innovative partnerships that will strengthen the student experience, promote and expand the College’s reputation and stature in the region, and invite additional financial and cultural resources to the College.

Promotion of the Krebs Center for the Humanities

With a clear eye on the future, the College is taking steps to ensure that its liberal arts foundation remains practically relevant and influential in the 21st Century.  One major step will be the Krebs Center for the Humanities, which the College will launch in early 2023.  Grounded in the conviction that the arts and humanities foster critical thinking, the interpretation of complex texts, and the research skills demanded by a rapidly changing world, the Krebs Center will foster innovative and interdisciplinary scholarship and pedagogy across the arts and humanities.  Housed near campus in a magnificent Italianate villa built by Trustee Robert D. Krebs and his wife, Anne, the Center will be supported by a substantial endowment.  The Center will attract leading scholars for lectures and residencies, business leaders and public officials for programs supporting the humanities, and students for workshops, courses, and research opportunities with faculty mentors.

Desired Qualifications and Characteristics

Lake Forest College seeks a President who brings vision and leadership to preparing the College to meet the challenges of higher education today and into the future. Embracing the strong community environment at the College, the next President will be a transparent and collaborative communicator who thrives in a student-centered culture that respects shared governance as a key value. Adept at working with multiple constituencies, the next president will be a strong relationship builder who is a seasoned fundraiser, an advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion, and a caring partner to the campus and surrounding community. While the Presidential Search Committee is eager to consider many possible pathways to the presidency, candidates possessing a terminal degree will be preferred. The ideal candidate will also:

  • Demonstrate the ability to think strategically to develop and build support for a shared vision for the institution;
  • Bring creativity and innovation to their leadership with a track record of positive change management;
  • Be an enthusiastic and successful fundraiser, able to identify and secure significant resources for the College;
  • Have a history of advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and access initiatives with concrete, positive results;
  • Possess strong emotional intelligence, including a political savviness in working with both internal and external constituencies, and the ability to adapt to the changing higher education and national landscape;
  • Possess a servant leadership style with the ability to inspire confidence and trust in the community;
  • Support, attract, retain, and inspire an outstanding faculty and champion faculty voice and professional development opportunities for faculty at all levels;
  • Have strong management experience, both with budgets and personnel, with the ability to manage multiple competing priorities and delegate effectively;
  • Be student-centered with the desire to engage with students, listen to their voices, and be visible and approachable around the campus and at events; and
  • Be a passionate and vocal advocate for both the liberal arts and professional programs for which the College is known.

For best consideration, please direct all nominations and applications to: 

Shelly Storbeck, Global Education Practice Lead and Managing Director
Ruth Shoemaker Wood, Managing Director
Lindsay Allison, Senior Search Associate
Storbeck Search
LakeForestPresident@storbecksearch.com                                                           

Lake Forest College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, parental status, marital status, age, disability, citizenship status, veteran status, genetic information, or any other classification protected by law in matters of admissions, employment, housing, or services or in the educational programs or activities it operates.

Lake Forest College complies with federal and state laws that prohibit discrimination based on the protected categories listed above, including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination based on sex (including sexual misconduct) in the College’s educational programs and activities.